The final phase of a consumer refund was announced today by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. The case was filed after one big manufacturer, Mylan Laboratories, cornered the world supply of some essential components for a couple of anti-anxiety medications. The brand names are Lorazepam and Clorazepate, two anti-anxiety drugs taken by many Americans, including some Alzheimer’s patients. While the company signed long-term contracts for the drug ingredients more than two decades ago, Miller says it wasn’t until 1998 and ’99 that Mylan put enormous price hikes into effect, since there were no competitors. He says they raised the price of one 20 times, the other drug 30 times. The Iowa Attorney General’s office joined other states in a class-action challenge to the drug-maker’s pricing, and a refund to consumers was ordered. Miller says during the refund period, people got 100-percent instead of the anticipated 70-percent or less, so it totaled over one-point-two million in Iowa. Iowa Pharmacists Association V-P Jerry Karbeling was working behind the counter at a Polk City drugstore when the price-hikes hit.He says patients were outraged because those who had to pay out-of-pocket and didn’t have insurance were seniors facing tenfold price increases. Karbeling says pharmacists collaborated with the A-G’s office and “harvested” data from their computers to offer to customers due refunds.They contacted their patients, then small town, independent and chain pharmacies alike worked to make sure anyone that qualified could get the refund.
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